History Matters series - Cracking the Code: Decoding Roger Williams
Near the end of his life, Roger Williams scrawled an encrypted essay in the margins of a colonial-era book. For more than 300 years those shorthand notes remained undecipherable until a team of Brown undergraduates cracked the code. Linford Fisher and fellow professor J. Stanley Lemons immediately recognized the importance of what turned out to be Roger William's final treatise.
Professor Fisher's research and teaching relate primarily to the cultural and religious history of colonial America and the Atlantic world, including Native Americans, religion, material culture, and Indian and African slavery and servitude. His first book, The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America looks at Native American communities in Rhode Island, Connecticut, western Massachusetts, and Long Island (NY), over the long course of the 18th century, particularly with regard to their involvement in the so-called "Great Awakening" of the 1740s. He is currently working on his next book-length project, a broad-ranging history of slavery and the shades of servitude in colonial New England and the Atlantic world among Africans and Native Americans.
Linford Fisher's books are available for borrowing to members of the Congregational Library and Archives.
UPDATE: Due to the severe weather in the Boston area, this event has been rescheduled for:
Wednesday, February 18th
noon - 1:00 pm
image of page 142 in An Essay Toward the Reconciling of Difference Among Christians by John Eliot courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University
image of the statue of Roger Williams by Franklin Simmons in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the US Capitol Building courtesy of The Architect of the Capitol via Wikimedia Commons